Australia's notifiable diseases status, 2006: Annual report of the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System - Results: Quarantinable diseases

The Australia’s notifiable diseases status, 2006 report provides data and an analysis of communicable disease incidence in Australia during 2006. The full report is available in 17 HTML documents. The full report is also available in PDF format from the Table of contents page.

Page last updated: 30 June 2008


Quarantinable diseases

Human diseases covered by the Quarantine Act 1908, and nationally notifiable in Australia and to the World Health Organization in 2006 were cholera, plague, rabies, yellow fever, smallpox, highly pathogenic avian influenza in humans (HPAIH), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and 4 viral haemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg, Lassa and Crimean-Congo). HPAIH was declared a quarantinable disease on 23 March 2004 and consequently became subject to the routine quarantine powers available under the Quarantine Act 1908. SARS was declared a quarantinable disease under the Quarantine Act 1908 on 7 April 2003.

In 2005, Australia committed to the International Health Regulation (IHR). These are requirements that will contribute significantly to enhancing national, regional and international public health security. During 2006, Australia was preparing for the IHR, which came into force on 15 June 2007. Under the IHR a 'decision instrument' must be utilised in order to identify whether a health-related event may constitute a public health emergency of internal concern and therefore requires formal notification to WHO.

Cholera, plague, rabies, smallpox, yellow fever, SARS, HPAIH and viral haemorrhagic fevers are of international public health importance as they continue to occur around the world. Travellers are advised to seek information on the risk of contracting these diseases in their destinations and take appropriate measures. More information on quarantinable diseases and travel health can be found on DoHA's web site at:

There were no cases of plague, rabies, smallpox, tularaemia, yellow fever, SARS, HPAIH or viral haemorrhagic fever reported in Australia in 2006.

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Case definition – Cholera

Only confirmed cases are reported.

Confirmed case: Requires isolation of toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O1 or O139.

In 2006, there were 3 cases of locally acquired cholera notified in Australia that were part of a local cluster in Sydney, New South Wales, in November. All cases were elderly women (aged 71, 71 and 84) infected with toxin-producing Vibrio cholerae O1 Ogawa El Tor. Investigations by the NSW Health Department found that the only common exposure among the 3 women was consumption of raw whitebait that was imported from Indonesia. As a result, a media release advising people to avoid eating raw whitebait was issued. No additional cases of cholera were discovered, and the 3 women all recovered.

Apart from 1 case of laboratory acquired cholera in 1996 and the 3 cases in 2006, all other cases of cholera reported since the commencement of the NNDSS in 1991 have been acquired outside Australia. There have been 17 cases notified over the last 5 years (ranging from 1 case in 2003 to 5 cases in both 2002 and 2004).

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